"Overtourism" - your thoughts?

Old Feb 27th, 2020, 08:58 AM
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Venice can be treated like a national park in the US. Walk one hundred yards from the popular sites and you can be pretty much on your own. At least that was the case in 2004. We were dreading a return to Venice which we had first visited in 1967 and were happy to have seen it again.

Murano was practically empty except for its main shopping area. The same thing is true of over-touristed cities such as Paris and Rome. Isn’t there a contradiction in following the herd and then complaining about the crowds? Of course, as a first timer tourist to an area, one would have to also visit over-crowded areas because they do have a cultural/touristy importance.

As for the small villages, such as the plus beaux villages de France and their equivalent elsewhere, they would fall into ruin like the abandoned villages of Spain without tourism. It is the double effect of consumerism and agricultural efficiency. The local agriculture could never compete with the production of more (larger) efficient farms and have turned to tourism to survive. This has been a long trend. Anyone remember “Le Secret de Maître Cornille” in Alphonse Daudet’s Lettres de mon moulin? But even in small villages the curious person can discover the quiet places in the village, although not necessarily more authentic when it comes to the village's original economic base.

I recall being in Bonnieux on market day, with an obvious tourist orientation—few stands with food shopping needs aside from the spice and sausage stands—but the tourists disappeared when one walked to the top of the village.

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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 09:14 AM
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2004 is not now
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 09:26 AM
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But my guess is that the crowds are predominantly day trippers coming in groups and therefore concentrating on the standard sights. Of course, I can't speak of Venice in the immediate present, although tour boats were already present in 2004,

but the same applies to my other example which is more contemporary.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jubilada View Post
2004 is not now
Last year: no crowds, especially in the evenings. We wandered around empty alley ways and corridors every evening.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 10:05 AM
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curiousgeo, about your Nanzenji experiences: yep that's it. I assume that many/most of those first-timers enjoyed Nanzenji. I was wondering overnight what Japan was like during the 80s economic boom. By the time I got there in 2001, I wonder how things changed after the 'lost decade 'of the 90s. Ok, what I really mean is that I assume that there was some loss of a sense of superiority.

CounterClifton, there are still plenty of first-time visitors to Japan who loved it. Kyoto is still (pretty much) a must visit. Me giving up on Kyoto is not a big stretch. I am not a fan, never have been, but a lot of fodorites on the Asia forum are. I don't agree with the advice that Kyoto requires a week stay, but people take it and agree. So, you go to Nanzenji when it opens, before the busloads arrive. There are plenty of other places to go in Japan. Anyway, what I like most about Japan is the Japanese and they are still there.

Gardyloo, great parable. Somebody (you, not me ) has to take the first step if we are to get somewhere. A small change might not solve a big problem but it could make things better or at least slow that rate at which it gets worse. For now, I am still going to toast my bread in the morning even though it uses electricity.

I am now paying $9 for a package of chicken because a few do-gooders decided that chickens need to live in single chicken-family homes with big back yards and a swing set. If they keep getting their way then when I win at the track I will shout "winner, winner, chicken feed dinner".
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 12:12 PM
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Flights are being cancelled. Tourists are staying home. The environment have a chance to recover somewhat yet but it will come at a price.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
When places get too popular with wealthy tourists, you also see a lot of gentrification in city centers and displacement of residents (either from conversion of properties to hotels or Airbnbs, or increasing housing costs). And replacing local shops with galleries, bars, ice cream parlors, and restaurants that are too expensive for most of the people who live there.

There are definitely places I won't go back to, including pretty much all of continental Europe.
Hoi An was a prime example of that. In the old city center, nearly every building is a shop, food place or gallery of some sort and every one of them has matching carved wooden signs over the doors. Nice buildings but it felt like we'd left Vietnam for some sort of planned community themed version of it. The rest of Hoi An, a few blocks away from that center bit, could well have been anywhere and I still thought it was probably more interesting just because people were actually living there., Not an attractive look to the rest of town but surely people have a saturation level for eating and shopping, even in restored old buildings?

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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 03:47 PM
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Travel topics belong in the travel forums, please, not the Lounge.

Thank you!
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ibobi View Post

Travel topics belong in the travel forums, please, not the Lounge.

Thank you!
I intended this to be a combination politics/travel topic.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kureiff View Post
Last year: no crowds, especially in the evenings. We wandered around empty alley ways and corridors every evening.
My experience in October (two years ago) as well.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I intended this to be a combination politics/travel topic.
That was certainly how I took it, as politics first.

Gardy, you asked:
Q: Will you or would you avoid places due to "overtourism?"

A: I avoid places when I perceive the stress I encounter will be offset by the benefits in pleasure or education. I'm like a starfish: I retreat from noxious stimuli.

I can't claim I avoid those places because I am worried about 'overtourism' as in, tourism that harms the environment. Worrying doesn't solve things, better engineering does.

I understand you are trying to keep hope alive, but I don't think your starfish parable works, because it assumes that the ratio of boy to starfish is less than 1.0. In other words, the story assumes that the starfish returned to the ocean by the small boy won't be immediately fished back out by another small boy with different priorities.

Why does the second boy undo the idealism of the first?
* Maybe he's ill informed
*Maybe he's fascinated with starfish:

* He may fish and then kill the starfish because he knows that starfish eat oysters and mussels which his family harvests to eat and sell in the marketplace.

In short, Until I know why people act as they do, I am ill equipped - as is Harry Windsor/Wales - to lecture them on how they can behave ' better.'

Harry defended his decision to travel by private jet in part because he deems such travel necessary for the safety of his family. So, he is trying to solve a problem. So are most people.

Until we can understand their problems, it is a pointless exercise to criticize them for trying to solve them, including possibly trying to solve them badly. And in particular humility is needed, something Harry could use. Because there are LOTS of examples of 'sustainability initiatiives.'in which people from afar try to improve matters (like throw starfish back into the water) without bothering to find out from locals exactly why the starfish was out in the first place. There are too many 'educators' and not enough students.

You also asked:

Q. Are you mindful of your carbon footprint when choosing flights or whether or not to go on a cruise?

A: I often go on flights because this is the most efficient and safest way for me and my family to visit each other. Why is safety a suitable goal for Harry, why is his family's welfare a suitable goal for him, but not for other people? Unless he is prepared to take the benign view of others that he wants for himself, I have little interest in listening to him.

That's a lot of words, sorry. But I felt I owed you an explanation for why I sounded so frustrated and annoyed with the once and former and always Harry once of Wales.

Last edited by Sue_xx_yy; Feb 27th, 2020 at 06:27 PM.
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by smalltowngal View Post
Maybe not related, but on the news this morning I watched the clean up of the streets in New Orleans post Mardi Gras. Ugh. I never saw so much trash. People must just assume street cleaners will come, so why not just throw it down.
I've seen this after beach festivals
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jubilada View Post
2004 is not now
Venice can be pretty empty now. I came back last month and for the most part at times it felt like the city was closer to empty than full. Obviously mid January isn't mid July but part of the problem is everybody wants to go at the exact same moment. Then we complain about the crowds.
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
The water at Port Canaveral was clear. It is an oily brown now. Carnival accidentally dumped tons of grey water recently. We would eat at this one spot at the port. Great views and we could watch all the fishing boats come in and go out. Now a huge ship parks there and the view is blocked. I despise the ship days and won't drive to Cocoa Beach anymore. Same with Key West. The ships bring so many people at once.
Carnival ships have been prosecuted on multiple occasions for dumping waste illegally. They even have plumbing built into their ships to let them do it. The fines are just another running cost. What a sh#tty company.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 10:17 PM
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I saw the photos posted showing how empty Venice was. I got so curious, I went to do some hotel searches on Google and Booking.com to see what accommodation was going for right now.

Wow - I remember looking at rooms years ago when we'd been thinking about an Italy trip but I don't remember seeing anything close to a (budget) room with a king bed and a private bath for 42 Euro (with taxes and fees) back then. I was thinking if I could get away right now... or soon... I'd go... hardly seems to be anyone to catch something from! I know the museums are closed up but wonder about getting something to eat or being able to come in and look around a local church and that sort of thing.
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